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On To Plan B?

Posted on Wed Nov 17th, 2021 @ 3:27pm by Captain Michelle Bartlett & Lieutenant Commander Danon Prel & Lieutenant Talea Honn & Lieutenant JG Sandra Garcia & Gunnery Sergeant Ami Rori

Mission: Recovery

Honn sat in the XO's chair, pondering her next move. "Sensors are suddenly down. You know, if I was a conspiracy theorist, I wouldn't call this accidental. Bridge to Captain Bartlett."

"Go ahead." Michelle said.

"Captain, you're needed on the Bridge. We have... an incident."

Michelle walked on to the bridge a few seconds later. "Incident?" the Captain said as she assumed her chair. "Exactly what kind?"

"Engineering reports long range sensors were knocked out." Honn replied.

"Where is Commander Prel?" Michelle asked.

“Commander Prel went down to the fighter squadron’s hanger to check on some diagnostic results, ma’am.” Ami kept a straight face as she reported, “After he left the bridge, it occurred to us that to reduce emissions, we should make sure all hangers were locked so they didn’t accidentally open and draw anyone’s attention, which was a good plan, since a glitch did try to access the controls.” Innocence on her face.

"Under the circumstances, you were probably right to do that." Michelle said. "The way he was acting, I suspect there would have been nothing accidental about the bay doors opening. Has Engineering given us an ETA to repair yet?"

"None that I'm aware of." Honn replied.

"Guess we should find out." Michelle stated. "Bridge to Engineering... How soon do you figure it will be before we have sensors again?"

Renee, in engineering, looked at the ceiling and waved, though no one could see her, "Oh, hi Skipper!" She said cheerfully, then shook her head, again unseen by anyone, "I've got no estimate yet, we've got to track down the problem by tracing the power routing. Somethings building a charge and if we power them up before we find the problem, then we're gonna have some reeeeeal problems.."

“Do we have any theories?” Michelle asked.

"Theories? Bunnies hopped into some of the conduits and made snacks out of some of the equipment?" Renee replied, "Not a good theory, but it is one." She thought for a few seconds, "I suppose it could be sabotage, someone weakened several of the junction transfers to prevent us from rerouting sensor power, or there's something closer to engineering, but that would be harder to hide... Give us ten minutes or so and I'll have more for you, Skippy!"

"Acknowledged." Michelle replied. "Bridge out." she paused a moment. "I mean... it's plausible depending how the holographic creatures in the arboretum were programmed..." she added with a chuckle. "Probably not though!"

"Captain, it might be advisable to deploy a fighter team to be our eyes and ears outside the sensor range. They can maintain contact with me."

Michelle paused a moment... Wasn't this entirely what we were supposed to be avoiding? She caught Honn giving her a concerned look. "We're in a safe area... We might not need any yet, though it might not hurt to be cautious." she turned to the Ops console "Were there any anomalous readings before sensors went down?" she asked.

"No, Captain." Garcia replied from Ops. "Nothing that appeared to be a ship or any threat."

"Sergeant, were any messages or communications sent from the away team?"

“None, ma’am, which means that the insertion team encountered no problems. The Major would only have sent a message if they were in need of assistance.” Ami’s tone was firm and confident, complete trust in her boss.

"Do we have reason to suspect that there would be any attempt at aggression?" Michelle asked Honn.

"Nothing from what my contacts say. However, I must reluctantly agree with Commander Prel." Honn added as Prel smirked. "No threat now doesn't mean if they're discovered that we aren't a sitting duck. While I'm concerned that this is suddenly a bit too convenient for someone to want to exact revenge for recent events... Only a total fool would try and take advantage of this. Plus, I expect we'll be hearing from Engineering in 10 minutes anyway."

"Captain, we didn't expect anything either the last time we were in this part of space, and that was with functioning sensors. I know you and seemingly everyone is worried about whether someone is going to go rogue, but I'll be keeping an eye on my men."

"See that you do." Michelle replied before sighing. "Deploy the fighters and remain in close contact. Monitor their activity from all stations."

Ami’s face went taut, her lips a flat line across her face. She disagreed with this course of action, usually being the one on the ground and knowing the value of overhead coverage in a combat situation. But this wasn’t a combat situation yet. She waited until Prel left the bridge before she cleared her throat, “Captain, I’m sure that the Commander will indeed keep a very close eye on his men, but who is going to keep an eye on him, ma’am? Quis custodiet ipsos Custodes?”

"I want you to very quietly deploy a Marine team once the fighters are launched to monitor their activity. If one of them steps out of line or attempts to provoke a fight, you have my approval to disable it." Michelle replied without blinking. "Only to disable, obviously not to destroy. Can't court-martial a corpse."

“Ma’am, no can do.” Ami said regretfully, “I can launch the ready team in a shuttle, yes ma’am, we can even explain it to the Commander and his people as simple preparedness just in case. However I don’t have anyone that can eyeball a shot in on a fighter in movement to disable it, probably not even good enough to destroy it. If we activate targeting sensors on one of them, one of those fighters can outrun, outmaneuver and certainly outguns any of the shuttles we’ve got.” Ami didn’t like saying it, but it was the truth, “If Prel or one of his people gets frisky, I’m afraid the best we can do is follow them in and assist in extracting the people we have on the ground. If you still want us to, we can try to dissuade the fighters instead, but I don’t think it would work.”

"Well... I tried." Michelle said with a slight smirk. "Very well. Deploy them, keep contact and prepare to extract them at a moment's notice. I suspect we might see some friskiness from Prel... I just don't quite know what that might look like."

Ami hit a few buttons that sent the message down to the waiting Marine team in another shuttle, "I believe he'll be out for blood, ma'am. I'm only an NCO, but I think he's got a few screws loose when it comes to this world."

"A few? He wouldn't be cleared for a shakedown cruise, he's got that many loose." Michelle replied. "There are some other things I have to attend to but I think for the moment, my place is here." she added, sinking further into the chair. "I wonder what they decided to use as cover?" she asked.

Ami didn't answer the question, she already knew that Prel was most likely not even going to seek any cover, but she also knew that Michelle wanted an answer. "if what Major Weston used was what we'd talked about, she went in as a professor from some university with a group of botanists or something of the like. She can fake it well enough to be taken credibly, so as long as they don't check her out closely on the ground, she'll get through it."

"Might be all we need." she said as Prel returned.

"Fighters are deployed, Captain. They'll be just outside communications, keeping an eye on things and relaying back to the Ops station."

"Lieutenant, monitor the fighters and maintain communication from the bridge."

"Aye, captain." came Garcia's reply.

"I can monitor from this station as well, ma'am." Prel replied.

"I'm sure you can. I encourage it. I just want to make sure there's no surprises." Michelle replied.

"Of course." he acknowledged. "If you don't mind me asking, have you given any thought to a new First Officer?"

"I have a candidate in mind." Michelle replied. "I won't discuss who, but rest assured if you're asked, you'll know."

"There aren't a lot of qualified Lieutenant Commanders aboard with the attack we sustained." Prel said. "Or equivalents to that rank. I'd be happy to vet some for you if needed."

"I appreciate the offer, but.. I'd like to get this over with first before I start finalizing crew changes. Resources are going to be... limited.. for the forseeable future."

Honn watched the exchange in shock. Is Prel really trying to butt-kiss his way into the First Officer's chair?

"Of course." Prel replied. Michelle hid her annoyance... A Betazoid easily could read the irritation she was stifling under her rather polite statement.

"The fighters have entered in formation around the ship and are scanning. Comm relays are open." Garcia replied.

"Brilliant. Hold position and alert us to anything. I just hope this is a temporary problem." Michelle said, sinking down into the chair further.


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